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Meet Neil McCaffrey of Saltwater Surf and Supply in Ocean Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Neil McCaffrey.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Got started working in and around surf shops at a very young age on the East coast in Rhode Island. I moved to San Diego about nine years ago now. When I first moved to San Diego I got a job at another shop in OB and worked my way up to being the manager and head buyer of the store. After working there for a few years I gained a lot of knowledge and met a lot of key people in the industry around San Diego.

After leaving that shop I realized that OB needed a smaller more art driven boutique style store to carry smaller more independent brands and focus more on hardgoods. At this time the location I’m in now became open for rent. It is a really old building with open wood rafters and immediately I fell in love with the vibe of the building. Once I decided to go for it I contacted a lot of smaller brands that were not being sold at any of the larger stores in and around OB.

When I first opened the shop I had very limited product but kept putting as much money as I could into the store to increase inventory levels. After the first few months we had a great reception from the community in OB and realized that the direction we were going in is what people wanted to see in the town. It’s been almost 4 years now since we opened and the backing from the community is one of the most important aspects of our shop. Without the support we would not be where we are today.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest challenge for us being a smaller store was getting the amount of inventory in the store at the level it is now. It took a lot of time and money like most retail business’s do. The next biggest challenge was getting the word out and building a following.

Saltwater Surf and Supply – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are an independently run store located right by the pier in Ocean Beach. We specialize in smaller boutique style art driven brands that you will not find in bigger corporate run surf shops. To compete with the larger shops around town we try and make our customer service the number 1 priority. We try and have a conversation with every single person that walks through the door and make everyone feel as welcome as possible whether they have been surfing for 2 days or 20 years.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success for me is being around what I love to do and somehow making a living out of it.


Contact Info:

  • Address: 1874 Bacon St.
  • Website:
  • Phone: 619-226-3130
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @saltwatersupply
  • Facebook: Saltwater Surf and Supply
  • Yelp: Saltwater Surf and Supply

Image Credit:

Jackson Van Kirk (surfing image)

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